Household, Individual, and Individual Under 35 members are welcome to visit and borrow materials from the Rhode Island School of Design’s Fleet Library.
The Fleet Library is located at 5 Westminster Street in Providence. To visit the Fleet, qualifying Athenæum members must show their membership card and photo ID to a security staff member at the entrance. We recommend members call the Fleet before visiting to confirm library hours and access (401-709-5900). Members can borrow up to 10 items at a time (including DVDs), and must return all borrowed materials to the Fleet. RISD materials cannot be returned at the Athenæum.
The Athenæum and RISD share a library catalog. You can search for materials across both institutions or select location to limit results.
Founded in 1878, the RISD Library is one of the oldest independent art college libraries in the country. Begun in a bookcase in the Hoppin Homestead building, the books were moved to the Waterman Building when it opened in 1893, settling in a number of rooms before relocating to what is now the Nature Lab, a proper library with a librarian, Eliza Buffington in 1909. Outgrowing that location, the RISD Library moved to an elegant space in the newly built College Building in 1937.
In the summer of 2006, the Library moved into a new facility in the first two floors of the former Rhode Island Hospital Trust bank at 15 Westminster Street directly across the river from the RISD Auditorium. The magnificent banking hall serves as the library’s main reading room, while the second floor accommodates a new reading room for Archives and Special Collections as well as expanded space for the Materials and Picture Collections.
Library collections include more than 155,000 volumes and 320 periodical subscriptions (print) and offer unusual depth and richness in the areas of architecture, art, design and photography. The library is noted for its artist’s book collection, its rare books, and visual and material resource collections.
Please note that Introductory, Student, Courtesy, and Providence Public School Teacher membership levels do not qualify for this membership benefit.